CAIRO: The Ministry of Higher Education has announced a noticeable increase in the minimum scores required for admission in public universities for students holding the Thanaweya Amma (national general secondary certificate) compared to 2006.
The minimum admissions score for the faculty of medicine is 98.7 percent, with 98.4 percent for the faculty of dentistry and 97.2 percent for the faculty of pharmacy.
However, according to the ministry’s official website, last year’s minimum score for the faculty of medicine was only 98 percent, and 97.3 percent for the faculties of dentistry and pharmacy.
As for the Thanaweya Amma math pathway graduates, the minimum score required for the faculty of engineering and computer science is 92.9 percent, compared to 92.3 percent last year.
The faculties of political science and economics require 97.4 percent (compared to 95.4 last year), while the minimum score for admission to the faculty of media is 96.7 percent (95 percent in 2006) and linguistics requires a minimum of 94.8 percent (compared to 93.6 percent last year).
Hoda Abdel Fatah, mother of Sara who scored 98.9 percent, told The Daily Star Egypt that the whole point of raising the minimum scores of the first category lies in the problem of supply and demand.
“We can expect the minimum scores for the first category to keep rising, so long as the number of students scoring high grades goes up. This year a lot of students have scored over 95 percent, consequently the number of applicants to the top universities will exceed the capacity of those universities, Abdel Fatah said.
She added that last year, high-achievers reached nearly 15,000, while this year the number has increased to 17,000.
“However, getting a high score in Thanaweya Amma is never an indication of intelligence, it is rather a sign of how much you can memorize and recall on paper without much understanding or research, said Abdel Fatah.
Heba Saad, a student who scored 94 percent, told The Daily Star Egypt that there are two reasons for the rise in the minimum scores for first category admission.
“I believe the first reason would be the high number of students making really high grades and planning to enroll in universities that are not well-equipped to cover this high number of students. The second reason is that the ministry wants to minimize the chances of students enrolling in top universities, said Saad.
High education is free but public universities are not equipped to absorb the huge number of students graduating from high schools every year.